Friday, May 27, 2016

A [Gluten-Free] Memorial Day

Don't you love 3-day weekends?? And there's just something about Memorial Day. It's like the signal from the calendar that summer is here. Well, I guess at least here in Florida. Holy Cannoli, the 90 degree temperatures have already started! This weekend we don't plan on leaving the beach. Nope. You can't make us. So that's why I'm headed to the grocery store today to stock up on all the food we need for the weekend. I'm planning on keeping it simple and of course delicious. I've rounded up some of my favorite summer recipes for you. Just click the photo to get each recipe!

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Cucumber-Dill Salmon Bites
Summer Corn and Tomatoes
The Perfect Arnold Palmer
Watermelon and Feta Salad

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

Lauren Marie

All recipes courtesy of

Monday, November 30, 2015

[Gluten-Free] Apple Pie Martini

This holiday recipe actually started on a warm July day last year. The girls in my family were celebrating my cousin Amanda's birthday at the Oxford Exchange in Tampa (love that place!). At the time, I was in the middle of working on my first holiday menu for Gluten-Free Living Magazine. And while the menu was really starting to take shape, I was totally stumped on cocktail ideas. To be honest, the only drink I could ever remember my family serving for Thanksgiving or Christmas was sangria. And even though my grandfather claimed it was a secret recipe, if you ever watched him make it you knew it was a different (delicious) concoction every time...

So I decided to get some opinions from the girls. I told them I wanted to do something fun. I was thinking sweet and maybe in a martini glass. Amanda immediately screamed "Apple Pie Martini!" WHOA. WHAT? YES. It was perfect! Who doesn't love apple pie?? I went home and started brainstorming on how I could get big apple pie flavor in a chilled martini glass. Then I brought in my secret weapon... my husband. Patrick is a very, very good cocktail maker. In fact, most of my drink recipes are a collaboration between the two of us. And don't worry, we keep testing until each recipe is perfect. Even if we have to taste-test three or four times. I know, it's a tough job really.... Trust me, you'll really enjoy this one. Thank you Amanda. Cheers everyone!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

My [Gluten-Free] Holiday Buffet

I'm so happy to finally be spilling the beans! My 2015 Gluten-Free Holiday Menu is published in Gluten-Free Living Magazine on newstands now! Want to know where you can buy one? Click here and scroll down. 

Want a sneak peek of what you'll find? Scroll down and check it out!

Psssst... Get these recipes right now on GFL's website:

These 11 recipes were a labor of love this past summer. 
I tested and tasted and tested again... until they were all perfect! 

I served many of these at this past year's Thanksgiving in July Party to give them all a good test run. They were a hit! I promise you these recipes are ones you can count on. 

So pick up a copy of Gluten-Free Living and get ready to impress your holiday guests!

And if you want my recipes from last year's menu in GFL,  just click here.

All photos are by the amazing Angela Sackett. Check out her awesome blog here.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream (and a Baby!)

Oh hi there. Remember me? I know it's been a while. But you see, I've been just slightly distracted with the most amazing thing in world. Do you see what I'm holding in this photo? It's our son, Dallas! He's as cute as a button and growing like a weed. Patrick and I are so incredibly in love with our little guy! We started our adoption journey last December, not knowing what the future held for us. We had no idea that less than a year later we'd be holding our sweet son in our arms. We couldn't be happier!

So as you can imagine, things have been quite busy around here lately with "Big D." Trying to create a routine for a newborn is about as easy as herding cats sometimes - actually maybe more like trying to catch a seagull.... Oh and did I mention we are in the middle of adding on to our house?! All I have to say is thank God for coffee! 

photo by Angela Sackett

So, what does a new baby have to do with deliciously sweet Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream? Um.. EVERYTHING. The holidays are right around the corner. Sheesh! I can't believe how time flies. Now I want the holidays to be extra, extra special. But with Big D in our life, I have to use my kitchen time efficiently. Luckily, I've got some great holiday recipes that I can depend on and I want to share them with you! They are ridiculously delicious and strategically designed to keep you out of the kitchen when in counts. 

Like my pumpkin pie ice cream. Mmmmmm. Just the sound of it is delicious, right? And trust me, people go crazy for it! This was a very fun recipe to test. Patrick and I ate quite a few batches of it...for uh, research purposes... Oh man, it's divine. It's like biting into a big piece of homemade pumpkin pie. Try it, you won't regret it. It's definitely on my list to make for this year's Thanksgiving dessert table!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

[Gluten-Free] Raspberry Lime Spritzer

Last Thursday, I found myself in a situation that I have never been in before... I was in a grocery store shopping for a non-food item. This was totally uncharted territory for me. Frankly, it was weirding me out. How did I get in such a predicament, you ask. Well, it all started when I was on my way home from the gym. I was actually thinking to myself how nice it was that I didn't need to make my normal grocery store pit stop since I had dinner waiting for us in the fridge (homemade chicken soup!). But then it hit me... we desperately needed trash bags. Oh brother, looks like I was going to make the pit stop whether I liked it or not.

Luckily, there's a grocery store on the way to my house. I pulled in, parked, and thought to myself, "Okay, just trash bags. Nothing else." (If you follow me on instagram, you already know where this is going...) So there I was in the "household products" aisle when all of a sudden I thought, "Raspberry-Lime Spritzer." Seriously, it just popped into my head. I have no idea where it came from. I've never even had a raspberry-lime spritzer!

But I knew I had to have it.

Before I knew it, I was at the cash register with the weirdest purchase ever: trash bags, frozen raspberries, and limes. I raced home and whipped up the easiest Raspberry-Lime Spritzer! It totally satisfied my craving. But to be honest, posting the recipe wasn't even on my radar until I made it for Patrick the next night. He absolutely fell in love with it! When I saw his reaction to the delicious drink, I just had to share it with you. Also, I must confess to you that I have made this recipe three times since Thursday. Sure I might be crazy, but it's that good.

And you know what they say, one man's trash bags is another mans spritzer!

Or something like that... Cheers!

Monday, August 31, 2015

[Gluten-Free] Tailgating Tips

Ah, football season. The time when you eat, drink, and play the weirdest lawn games ever invented. What's not to love about that? Patrick and I are kind of what you would call football-tailgating junkies. The amount of football games we have traveled to since we've been married is pretty much absurd. That means I've seen a lot of tailgates over the years. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Which has lead me to this...

1. Make-Ahead Food. For tailgates, I only choose recipes that I can make the day before. That way when we get to our tailgating spot, setting up is easy and I've got a beer in my hand by the time the first game of cornhole gets started. These are some of my favorite tailgating recipes:

2. Bring the Essentials. Don't forget to pack garbage bags, paper towels, sunscreen, and bottled water!

3. Tailgate Don't Contaminate. We love to grill hamburgers or chicken sausages during our tailgates. To keep everything clean while we're tailgating, we open the packages and prepare the raw meat at home. We put the sausages and patties in airtight containers. When it's time, Patrick uses tongs to place them on the grill. Easy Peasy!

4. Beer, Beer, Beer. It's considered a state of emergency if you run out of beer at a tailgate. I always err on the side of more, just in case. I buy beer that is not cold, and just put more into the cooler as we need it. In case you're wondering about GF Beers, I love this one, and this one.

5. Think about the Post-Game. I am always hungry after a four-hour football game and so is everyone else. I usually bring a double-batch of my Go-To Chicken Salad for after the game. It's delicious and I can make it up to 2 days ahead of time! We all eat it while we play cornhole and wait for traffic to die down.

So whether you're hosting a tailgate right outside of the stadium or in the comfort of your living room, I hope these tips will help you pull off the best tailgate ever! Here's to the start of a great (hopefully, winning) football season. 


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

[Gluten-Free] Agave Mustard Vinaigrette

The other day I was at the grocery store and... who am I kidding? I was there yesterday. I'll probably be there today. You know you're a grocery store junkie when the guy at the meat counter says, "Wow, you again? You're always here." I never could tell if that comment was said with affection or confusion. Either way, back to the story! The other day, I was walking through the condiments aisle and I passed the salad dressing section. Holy shmagoly, have you seen it lately? The section is HUGE. I slowed down my normally very speedy cart-pushing to catch a glimpse.

There were so. many. bottles. And any combination of flavors you could think of: Ginger Vinaigrette, Greek Green Goddess Dressing, Savory French Dressing, and even "Cowgirl" Ranch (very clever). I was in shock. But why was I so shocked, I wondered. And then I realized, I haven't bought salad dressing in years! Once I saw how easy it was to make our own, I quit the store-bought stuff cold turkey. Which totally explains why I hadn't noticed the extreme salad dressing explosion that was taking over the condiments aisle.

Homemade salad dressing doesn't have to be intimidating. Vinaigrettes are a great place to start. Most people say to do a 3-to-1 ratio of olive oil to vinegar, but really you can do whatever you want. I like my vinaigrettes slightly tangy and bold, so I usually use a little less oil and sometimes substitute lemon juice for vinegar. Then I add whatever flavors I'm feeling like that day. Lately, I've been a big fan of a sweet and tangy honey mustard: honey, dijon mustard, a little white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. The honey cuts through the tanginess of the dijon mustard just perfectly. So delicious.

But one night, I was getting ready to make my honey mustard dressing when I went to the fridge and realized I didn't have dijon mustard! Nooooo. I had my heart set on honey mustard. So I improvised. I used whole-grain mustard instead of dijon and substituted agave nectar for honey. It was out of this world! I've been making it for a couple weeks now and just had to share it with you. You've got to try it! It literally takes 20 seconds to make. But I'm warning you, after you see how delicious and easy this recipe is, you may never go back to the salad dressing aisle again... Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

[Gluten-Free] Summer Corn and Tomatoes

I didn't used to be such a planner. I admit it's a characteristic that I have developed over the years. I usually keep my planner-side a secret from most people because I am pretty easy going about most things. But I am definitely driven. So if I am determined to get something done, watch out. That's when the planner in me comes out to play! 

Take for instance, a party. The only way I stay sane is by creating a thorough plan. I know that may sound crazy! But when you're making 10 dishes that need to be ready at the same time (did I mention I'm an over-achiever too?) and trying to make your home look presentable, a plan is the only way to go. I schedule my prep in hour increments. I concentrate on doing one thing at a time, sometimes that's easier said than done. And every once in a while, I get caught red-handed by one of my friends or family when they see something like this on my kitchen counter.

A little crazy right? I know it looks a lot, but it keeps me focused (did I mention I get distracted easily? Hey what's...that....). I make sure to schedule things like "Breakfast and Coffee" or "Take photos of decor" because otherwise, I'll forget. In the end, everything usually gets done - key word being usually. Come on, no one's perfect. And to make my life easier, I print off all the recipes I am working with and keep them under my plan. With everything right at my fingertips, I can switch from one thing to another seamlessly. 

What does this have to do with sweet corn, juicy tomatoes, and beautiful basil? Everything.

Recently, we had the family over for a summer barbecue. My sister was in town from New York and it was going to be her first time meeting my cousin's boyfriend. In a Cuban family, you have to meet everybody before you're "in." And even then... well... that's another blog post... Needless to say it was a big event. I had my plan all ready. Patrick was grilling barbecue chicken and I was making the sides and desserts. One of the sides was this glorious Summer Corn and Tomatoes - a ridiculously easy recipe that is soooo delcious. Everyone loved it! And look how pretty it is...

The party went off without a hitch and my cousin's boyfriend proved that he could hang with our loud and rambunctious group. Before he left, he came up to me and said "Where can I get that fiesta corn recipe? It was delicious." I just smiled and pulled the recipe out from underneath my plan. BaBoom! Then I said to him, "And that's how we do it in this family. Can you handle it??" 

And then I did a little snap!

Okay, okay... so it's possible it didn't exactly happen like that. 

Maybe I'll plan on doing that next time.

Monday, July 27, 2015

[Gluten-Free] Chorizo Potato Salad

photo by Angela Sackett

It was Thanksgiving at my house this weekend. No, I'm not crazy. Okay, maybe a little. 
Our annual "Thanksgiving in July" Party was this past Saturday and it was an absolute blast! All our friends came out to celebrate our made-up holiday. Everyone brought a dish to share and Patrick and I did the rest. We had fried turkey, beef tenderloin, scalloped potatoes, roasted beets, mac and cheese, maple-roasted veggies, stuffing, mashed potatoes, fall apple salad, cornbread, deviled eggs, sweet potatoes... And don't even get me started on dessert.

Holy Canoli, we had SO. MUCH. FOOD. 

I made sure to make my Chorizo Potato Salad. It's been my go-to potato salad recipe for a while now. What I love about this dish is how versatile it is. It's not just a normal potato salad that you can serve at a summer barbecue. Because the flavors are of smoky chorizo and the warm spice of ground cumin, it's really a dish you can serve year-round: for a holiday get-together or for a party in the middle of summer. Oh and you can make it a couple days in advance. Perfect for Thanksgiving in July.

Everyone left with a smile on their face and to-go boxes in their hands. But no one was as happy as I was. The food, the laughter, the noise, the kids running around... it was classic holiday chaos. I couldn't help but love it. Sitting next to Patrick at that table and looking at everyone eating and talking, I couldn't help but feel like the luckiest girl in the world. 

Or maybe the craziest. But hey, a normal life would just be boring. 

Happy Thanksgiving (in July) Everyone!

Monday, July 13, 2015

[Gluten-Free] Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies with a Graham Cracker Crust

It is a well known fact in my family that any dessert that contains the ridiculously delicious combination of chocolate and peanut butter is welcomed anytime, anywhere. In fact, showing up with a dessert of this magnitude will often times result in a big round of applause complete with a few hoots and hollers. It's a hero's welcome as soon as you walk in the door. Who wouldn't want that?

So when I was brainstorming on quick and easy dessert recipes, peanut butter swirl brownies came to mind. Geez, even the name sounds delicious. Peanut Butter SWIRL, mmmmmm... The brilliant thought came to mind as I was in the car with Patrick the other day. We were sitting there in a brief silence when all of a sudden I turned to him from the passenger seat and blurted out,"Why couldn't I make a graham cracker crust and pour brownie batter on top of it and then swirl peanut butter through it!?"

I think my voice got louder as I said the phrase "peanut butter swirl" and there may have been some flaring arm movements made. "Why couldn't I?!" I kept saying. Patrick just looked at me with a patient smirk and said, "Why couldn't you?"

I felt like I was really on to something. Chocolate. Peanut Butter. Graham Crackers. It's like the three amigos but without the mariachi costumes. I kept the recipe simple on purpose because sometimes you just want to be able to go into your pantry, grab a few things, and whip something up. I brought these to my family last week while they were renting a beach condo for their 4th of July vacation.

(Yes, you heard me right, beach condo. As in singular. Crazy Cubans.)

My cousin Katie freaked out.
My uncle Ross let out his famous whistle.
My mom couldn't believe how easy the recipe was.
My aunt let out a "Lauurrennn" and clapped when she saw them.
And my dad claimed they were the "best brownies he's ever had."

Not bad, I'd say. Oh, and the brownies were all gone before sunset.
Moral of the story: Make these and feel like a hero. Victory has never tasted so sweet.